In 2005, my husband and I went on a mission trip to Zambia, Africa. On the final days of our journey, we took a mini vacation to Victoria Falls. As you can imagine, seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the World was impressive. However, it wasn't the magnitude of the beautiful waterfalls that left the biggest impression on me; instead, my husband's courage.
Some may call it foolish (at the time, I was saying the same thing,) but my husband bravely took on the challenge of the “Gorge Swing” a 394-foot terrifying plummet (think Empire State Building) attached to a questionable bungee cord. Basically, you jump, hope the cable doesn’t break and you get the thrill of swinging back-in-forth (312 feet wide) in pendulum fashion before being lowered into the bottom of the gorge.
(What they don't mention on the front end is that you then have to climb out of the canyon and hope the baboons that live there don't attack you!)
I am pleased to report; my husband survived both the gorge swing and the baboons.
Once my nerves settled, I had a whole new appreciation for what it looked like to conquer fear and step out in faith and courage.
What’s puzzling though, is this same man (who dared to literally jump off a cliff) breaks out in a cold sweat if you ask him to pray out loud.
Funny how spiritual things tend to make us shrink in fear and uncertainty like nothing else.
I mean, what will people think?
One of my favorite books of the Bible is the Book of Esther because it features a female heroine who demonstrated immeasurable courage. Not a story of merely what others may think, but a story of life and death.
Esther was the Queen of Persia, and one might think that being Queen carried certain protections, but Esther had a secret…. she was Jewish during a time of grave persecution. Yes, even before Hilter, the Jews were despised for their religious beliefs and faced mass extermination at the hands of an evil politician who had fooled the King into issuing an order of genocide!
Esther faced an impossible decision- remain silent and hope the King would never discover her secret or reveal the truth and beg for mercy for her people.
If this was not challenging enough, no one was allowed to come into the King’s presence without an invitation- doing so meant immediate (no questions asked) death!
What to do? Every turn for Esther carried terrifying possibilities.
She finally decides:
"Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish." - Esther 4:16
“If I perish, I perish.” (SOME BOLD WORDS)
Esther valiantly goes before the King, declares her heritage, begs for the Jewish people and they are saved!
True heroism with history making results.
Her security did not rest in her title, her possessions, or even her husband- her security rested in God.
She accepted that she was placed in her royal position “for just such a time as this” and didn’t allow complacency to stand in her way!
When there is complacency, there is no room for courage.
So, I ask you-
Where are you complacent and lack courage?
~ Are you reluctant to acknowledge and embrace God, accepting Christ’s offer of salvation? (John 3:16)
~ Do you avoid openly admitting you are a Christian?
~ Resistant to baptism?
~ Are you afraid to share the news of salvation with your family, friends, co-workers, or strangers?
~ Are you terrified of taking an unpopular stand on issues that are not politically correct?
~ Afraid to make a change and brave new adventures?
I know that it is easier to be silent, to go along with what’s popular and let others take a stand while you enjoy the safety of the sidelines.
But, friends- Edmund Burke was right: “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
LET'S DO SOMETHING!
Banish your complacency and accept the call to action- trusting that God will have your back every step or leap along the way!
Father, thank you that you lovingly provide for us in every situation, whether spiritual or physical. Through you, all things are possible. May we cling to you -- our hiding place, our shield and find our hope in your word. Give us boldness to always leap in faith, knowing you will catch us.
“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” ~ Psalm 118:6